, attached to 2016-07-06

Review by as_my_senses_bleed

as_my_senses_bleed Is this hitting bottom? Disappointment turns into concern. What's wrong, guys? The world is growing more difficult, even for sonic superheroes. Is there anything we can do to help? I realize I'm heading towards having another post deleted due to a lack of concrete connection to the show at hand. Fair enough. I will make more of an effort.

Here's my experience of the night. I live on the west coast, and work prevented me from catching the first three songs as they happened, which on paper, make me giddy with envy for everyone who did. Following those, Billy Breathes is probably my favorite Phish ballad. It and The Sloth have long been on my short list of chased songs. Follow those with a Myfe, I would have been an embarrassingly happy camper there in person. And yet, all three were mediocre executions at best, at least as heard through headphones streaming from afar (thanks to all on Mixlr who make this possible!). Stash offered a bit more to chew on at the end of the first set, but not enough to overcome a growing sense of malaise.

One of things I appreciate most about Phish is how they continually find new ways to tweak their sound and keep us guessing. So far this tour, a slower tempo has been noticed and commented on. Initially I interpreted this as an intentional and concerted effort to approach old standbys from a new angle, which has worked brilliantly in the past. And yet, I'm starting to wonder if there is any such intention right now. Ten shows in this tour, and the tempo has only grown more erratic, the song selection more narrow, and the stints of exploration more infrequent. As much as I don't want to admit, I can no longer deny a growing sense of concern for the band. Something seems off. Execution is unfocused and cohesiveness is strained.

Set two started off somewhat promising, this time with First Tube making the rounds. Who doesn't work themselves up into a spinning vortex of bliss when this simple yet effective groove gets thrown down? Then came the highly anticipated Tweezer. Slow and meandering, yet solid and satisfying nonetheless, launching into... Guyute? Okay, I can get down with that. Except that uncertainty and sloppiness seep back in and never seem to leave the party again. Mike's Song, a cause for celebration last year, has so far gone nowhere this year unfortunately. Up next, Tide Turns into Devotion for a Dream that not even Wingsuit can save. Bittersweet Hotel made me want to give Trey a hug and ask if everything is okay. Fluffhead paled in comparison to the previous outing at Wrigley Field. By the time Weekapaug finally rolls around, I'd almost forgot it was coming. A normally novel and fun Contact encore sounded defeated and limply passed the baton to Tweeprise to complete the night's compulsory affair.

A harsh take on the evening, I know. But I write this with the hope that all is well with them and that this is only a rough patch about to give way to the elevated levels of musical freedom and expression they're more than capable of reaching and surpassing. No matter what, I believe, good times and bad.
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